Hinduism Vs. Yoga

Hinduism vs. Yoga

Hinduism is the primary belief system of India. Hinduism has many different parts which each emphasize a particular area of study. Yoga is part of Hinduism and is one of the six systems of Hindu philosophy known as darśanas.  

Parts of the Hindu Belief System Including Yoga

The six darśanas:

  1. Sānkhya: The distinction between consciousness and nature.
  2. Yoga: The control of the mind that enables one to understand the distinction between consciousness and nature.
  3. Nyāya: Methods of investigating the truth and the discussion of proof.
  4. Vaiśesika: The discussion of various substances found in the universe including atomic theory.  
  5. Pūrva Maīmāmsā: The discussion of virtuous conduct and interpretation of Vedic rituals.
  6. Vedānta: The discussion of the nature of God. 

Whenever I’m asked the question, “is yoga a religion?” I answer “no.”

Yoga is the part of the larger belief system of Hinduism which places emphasis on understanding the mind in a way that allows you to discern between consciousness and nature.  

The practice of yoga in the West, is very different from its traditional roots in the East. Through cultural appropriation, yoga has evolved into a practice that relates more to exercise than it does to religion. Parts of yoga have been pulled out, emphasized and positioned as the whole. In particular the practice of asana has become synonymous with the practice of yoga. You will learn in later chapters this is not a fair or accurate synonym.

I believe that yoga is still evolving. While you cannot deny the benefits a regular physical asana practice has for your body, more and more people are starting to embrace the practice as a discipline for spiritual development. 


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